Design Contract have selected the best new restaurants where high design mixes with high cuisine – appealing furniture, luxurious finishes, and alluring lighting. For architects and interior designers, restaurant commissions can be invitations for experimentation. When tasked with creating such statement spaces, a little extra drama or a few theatrical flourishes, which could be too overpowering for a residential dining room, are almost always welcome.

The restaurants in Design Contract selection top list are 2014 “must visit” restaurants beyond the ordinary. Take a look at high-design dinning destinations where you’re quaranteed to have a memorable night out and check out for some of inspiring suggestions for professional architects and interior designers.

Foša, Zadar (Croatia)

Given its setting on the harbor for which it’s named for, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that this Croatian restaurant specializes in both water vistas and seafood. The bread is homemade and served with local olive oil, appetizers include a variety of bruschetta and carpaccio, and enticing hot appetizers like snail risotto with sour apple and curry, grilled mussels, and black cuttlefish and chickpea stew. Entrées are just as difficult to decide between. Squid from the Adriatic, salt baked fish, grilled Adriatic lobster, and special sides like monkfish “tripe” and homemade ravioli with crab are among the offerings that have made this a must for local diners and visitors alike.

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Hakkasan Mayfair (London)

Outposts of this high-end Chinese establishment (created by the founder of the low-end Wagamama Japanese noodle chain) — there are Hakkasans in New York City, Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Shanghai, and Mumbai, plus a second London location  — have been criticized for their precipitous prices and the uneven quality of their cooking. The original, though — while indeed pricey — maintains high culinary standards in a sleek, buzzy, multi-million-dollar interior. The offerings run the gamut from jewel-like dim sum served as a sample platter (scallop shumai, har gau, Chinese prawn and chive dumpling, and duck dumpling) to bright seafood (roasted silver cod with champagne and honey), and from homemade tofu dishes (served in an aubergine and Japanese mushroom claypot with chile and black bean sauce) to extravagances like black truffle roast duck with tea plant mushroom.

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The food, meticulously plated to artistic effect, includes vegetarian and seafood options (red prawns gratin and monkfish with sweet and sour sweetbreads beckon), but there are also such meatier delights as scampi and goose liver in onion sauce with wine caramel, duck breast with grappa sauce, Piedmontese beef fillet with Amarone sauce, and suckling pig with bean sauce and black truffle.

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Il Desco Verona (Italy)

Chef Elia Rizzo’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, which opened in 1997, uses modern techniques to highlight traditional Italian ingredients in a room filled with wood paneling and tapestries. The food, meticulously plated to artistic effect, includes vegetarian and seafood options (red prawns gratin and monkfish with sweet and sour sweetbreads beckon), but there are also such meatier delights as scampi and goose liver in onion sauce with wine caramel, duck breast with grappa sauce, Piedmontese beef fillet with Amarone sauce, and suckling pig with bean sauce and black truffle.

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The Goring (London)

The 1910-vintage Goring is an old-style hotel, with a discreet lobby, a bustling (but hardly buzzy) bar, and a comfortable dining room are decorated with hand made armcairs similar to Brabbu’s. The Goring serve’s solid British cooking, both traditional and guardedly modern, is perfectly served by an attentive and knowledgeable staff. Native oysters, potted shrimp, fried whitebait, and a glazed Scottish lobster omelette are among the always-dependable starters. Main dishes might include roasted red mullet with foraged nettles and mussels; grilled Cornish brill with steamed razor clams, Lannigan shrimps, and baby spinach; and braised shoulder of Leyburn venison with bacon, button onions, and mushrooms. If you’re in a particularly retro mood and get there on the right day, the silver-domed trolley that glides around the dining room might be featuring a classic beef Wellington.

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Onyx (Budapest)

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55-seat fine dining restaurant in Budapest to a Michelin star. The culmination of the restaurant’s efforts? The creation of their Hungarian Evolution Menu, “where the freshest, highest-quality domestic ingredients and new technologies are used in the preparation and presentation of renewed and updated versions of traditional Hungarian cuisine.” Consider dishes like water buffalo steak tartare with oxtail and oyster; goose liver with grapes; free-range egg with Mangalitsa ham, potato, and truffle; goulash soup; venison with black pudding toast, walnut, apple, and cabbage; and a “21st century Somló sponge cake” — all served in a black-tiled dining room with silver ceilings, chandeliers, orchids, and of course plenty of onyx.

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Design Contract will continue to share with you fantastic ideas for your office design, interior design, corporate interior design (see article “10 Best hospitality design projects: Restaurant & Bar Design Award Winners” here), commercial interior design, luxury hotel design (see article “Luxury Hotel Design- International Hotel Awards Winner Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow” here), top design events (see article “North America’s Premier Show- Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2014. Best exhibitors”) and best design projects (see article “The 2014 Architectural Digest 100 top talents in architecture and interior design” here). Don’t forget to subscribe this blog and to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.